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Returning Cat to Shelter?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I hope I chose the right section to post this. I registered to seek some advice on what to do with my situation.

Two months ago, I adopted a cat from my local SPCA. When I did the paperwork, I had to sign an agreement with them that if i cannot keep the cat and it is within 1 year of adoption, I will give him back to the shelter.

I won't get into details, but this cat isn't integrating well (or at all) into our household and we've decided it's in his best interest to go to a new home. He would be miserable staying here long-term.

After I adopted him, I had the vet run a bunch of tests on him to ensure he's healthy and he is. (the shelter didn't even do a FIV/FeLV test before)
I certainly don't want to put him back into a shelter; that would break my heart.

I called the shelter to tell them of my situation and asked if I could act as a 'foster' home to him until a new home was found. I was told no, it's not their policy, so I would have to return him to them. I pointed out it would be much more stressful for him to be in a shelter than a home environment. I was told that was true, but I still have to bring him back to live in one of their cages meanwhile. They DO use foster homes in general.

The issue is that kitten season is here and all the shelters will be full. This is also NOT a no-kill shelter, so I am extremely hesitant in handing him back to them. My friend told me to find a new home for him myself, but I'm afraid of what might happen if they find out. I also like that the shelter, because they have contracts, would be able to do more than I could in a case where the new adopter didn't follow what they agreed to.

Hence, I'm torn. What is the right/best thing to do for the cat?
TIA!
post #2 of 14
Hi-
Can you please go into details, so we can at least try to help you? There are thousands of members here with lots of combined knowledge, and I really think it might be worth a try... Some of them have been socializing difficult cats for many years...
No matter what, do NOT return this cat to the shelter, especially to a kill shelter. When you adopted him, you made a commitment for life (I do understand the contract). You adopted a pet... You did not buy a bag, that you could try it out and return if you didn't like it. A pet is a lifelong commitment. So, if things are not working out, the least you have to do is to ensure his safety and health- and that is not in a kill shelter.
You need to find him a good home now... Make sure it is an appropriate home too, not just anybody...
I am sorry if I sound harsh... But this really bothers me.
post #3 of 14
This is a really bad time to return a cat to a shelter. Between the bad economy (less people are adopting), kitten season (most people pick the cute kitten over an older cat), and the fact that this is a kill shelter, your cat's chance of adoption are slim and the chance that it will be euthanized are high. Be prepared for the fact that if you give the cat back, he will probably not live.

First, I will suggest that you try some techniques that have been compiled over the years by members of The Cat Site. This thread is all about introducing a new cat into your household. Even though you've tried for a few months, it is never too late to start over from scratch. People have done that successfully here.

I have very mixed feelings about breaking a contract with a shelter. I've done it twice, and both times were adoptions to people that I knew a long time, and knew they were good cat people that were able to give the cats more love and attention than I was able to (I have a large household). Most shelters don't have the resources to follow up on their adoptions and would most likely not find out.

You need to look into your heart and decide if this cat is worth the extra work in your household before you make a decision here. I can't recommend returning him to this shelter.

Hoping you find the right path for your situation.
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
You need to look into your heart and decide if this cat is worth the extra work in your household before you make a decision here. I can't recommend returning him to this shelter.

Hoping you find the right path for your situation.
Welcome to TCS...

so sorry my friend if I´m very dramatic.....But our world is very full of homeless souls my friend ....... I bet with a bit more of effort from you , can be fit at home my friend....
But as the desicion are you my friend...


thanks for listen us...and my prayers for a wize decision my friend!
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
The shelter is our local SPCA. They claim that they don't euthanize unless the animal is very ill or human aggressive but I know people who volunteer there and they know that's not entirely true.... There's a group that's spoken out against them and there's a current lawsuit over that.

The problem is not this cat but my original cat. He has been lashing out at everyone including me since I brought the new cat home. He also spends the bulk of his time hiding now. He used to be sweet and friendly, my most affectionate cat ever, until I got him a 'friend' and now he's miserable. Two weeks ago, my husband was petting him on the ground, a nightly routine since we got him 4 years ago, and all of the sudden he went berzerk when he saw the other cat. Needless to say, my husband's face is suffering from some hideous scratches. He also aggressively attacks the new cat to the point where I have to keep them separated which I cannot do long term. I tried all the methods I was ever told to slowly introduce them.

We've tried Feliway and Elavil, none of which works. He is totally miserable and it's not fair to keep the new cat locked up in the bathroom. He has been for the last month and a half.

I understand this is a bad time for shelter kitties which is why I asked here. I'm ok with finding him a good home by myself but I worry about the shelter finding out. They tattooed him.... although not at their own animal hospital, but a private independent clinic but I'm unsure if the clinic would advise them of any changes to the owner name and address.

I've test posted him online to see if anyone 'good' might be interested and the responses I get, some are scary. I fear if I let him go to a home even if screened to the best of my ability, that it won't be enough and if I find out too late, I don't have the authority to take the cat back whereas the shelter would since they would have a contract written in place. In terms of being able to find a good home where the chances of compliance from the new adopter is greater, I feel the shelter is better than I am at that BUT I worry about the euthanasia part (even though they claim otherwise).
post #6 of 14
I don't think there's an easy answer to this one. My biggest pet peeve with adopters here is NOT returning them to the shelter if things don't work out. (And we are not a no-kill facility) If you do re-home him, screen very very very carefully. And honestly, I don't know what the recourse would be if the shelter found out you re-homed him instead of returning him.
post #7 of 14
I'm so sorry you're going through this, but it does sound like the basic problem is that introductions weren't made properly, and this can be rectified if you're willing to do it.

Do you have a room to which the new kitty can be confined? If he's separated, and you lavish attention on your resident kitty for a while, and then work on getting your resident cat to associate the new kitty with good things, and THEN begin physical introductions, it may work itself out.

It takes time and patience, but if you would like the advice on how to start over, we can help, and it may well work - it has for many others.

You can start by searching in the Behavior forum. New cat introduction problems are a very common problem.
post #8 of 14
Can you get a friend to contact the shelter and ask them if you don't want to keep a pet that has been adopted from them and wish to rehome the pet yourself to someone you know (lie a bit), then what would be the consequences?

Then see what the shelter has to say. I'm not sure either what would happen - to me as long as the animal is spayed/neutered and can't breed what difference does it make.

Even with purebreds and breeders - you have to contact them first and many times the breeder will give you permission to rehome if they cannot take the cat back at that time.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
Can you get a friend to contact the shelter and ask them if you don't want to keep a pet that has been adopted from them and wish to rehome the pet yourself to someone you know (lie a bit), then what would be the consequences?

Then see what the shelter has to say. I'm not sure either what would happen - to me as long as the animal is spayed/neutered and can't breed what difference does it make.

Even with purebreds and breeders - you have to contact them first and many times the breeder will give you permission to rehome if they cannot take the cat back at that time.
I agree but no lying.. often a shelter will help vs getting it back
post #10 of 14
As a shelter volunteer (just got home from my kitty day), I have to say we have 7 cages of kittens out front, every intake cage with kittens, and half the treatment cages. This is a dangerous time for adult cats at the shelter.
post #11 of 14
Sharky, I think the OP said she called them back and asked about it and the shelter insisted on having the cat returned to them. That's why I suggested someone else call the shelter and ask the same thing but ask what would happen if they didn't bring it back and told them they had someone to take it. That's where my "fib a bit" was - just saying they had another home.
post #12 of 14
I also have an animal shelter background fortunately at a really good shelter. The shelter I used to work for actually intentionally home-fosters adult cats during the spring/summer and brings them back into the shelter when kitten season is over.

Can you apply to become an official foster home?

I do believe that most shelters can screen people better. Plus they hopefully have more customer traffic. In Colorado adoptions are not down due to the economy - donations to care for them are however.

I was surprised to learn they are tattooing instead of microchipping. They are unlikely to do anything to you if you re-home the cat. If you do re-home make sure to contact the tattoo registry and change ownership. In general though I think returning the cat to the shelter is best - provided it is a good shelter. You don't say where you are from.

This is certainly a touchy situation - no one really wants to return an animal. Sometimes you can do the best intro possible and it doesn't work. I would recommend reviewing the intro materials here and maybe checking out Pamela John Bennetts book on multi-cat households. If you think you can re-visit intro then do so. If you have really done all that you can then perhaps return or rehome is the best choice.
post #13 of 14
If you are set on rehoming her, if you found a nice person to adopt her-could they adopt her through the shelter? This way you do not break your contract.

I personally would try intros again, and go verrrrry slowly.
post #14 of 14
Do the local No-Kills have wait lists? Perhaps you could get the cat on a wait list & then you know the situation is temporary. We are no-kill and our contract states that the cats will be returned to us. The truth is that we just don't want the cats ending up in a shelter that will put them down. We have had a lot of people that have managed to find a good home for the cat with a friend or family member. We don't object because in the long run what we want is the cat in a caring loving home. I'm not sure what this facility is like, but I would hope the peole there would feel the same way I do. A loving home is top priority.
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